This Saturday, the No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes will play their second-straight game under the lights, but this time in the friendly confines of Ohio Stadium as they welcome the Michigan State Spartans to Columbus. Coming off of an absolute bludgeoning of the Nebraska Cornhuskers, Ryan Day’s team is quickly ascending into the upper echelons of the college football debate as the season enters its second month.
On Tuesday, the first-year head coach met with the media to react to what happened in Lincoln, Neb. last week and to preview what will take place in The ‘Shoe this week.
Check out the video of the press conference here:
Gene Smith adresses California Bill 206
Before Day took to the podium, athletic director Gene Smith made comments about the passage of the California law allowing student athletes to be compensated for the use of their image and likeness. He declined to comment on his personal comments in fairness to the NCAA working group that he chairs.
However, he did say that he doesn’t see a situation in which college sports as we know it can continue with different piecemeal rules, regulations, and laws. He feels that whatever the ultimate decisions are they will need federal help in figuring out a level playing field.
- He said, “We can’t have a situation with different states with different rules that are going to compete with each other.”
- Smith said that if the law in California was in place now, he would not schedule schools from the state.
- He said that he is not opposed to what California is doing. He said that some times large, complex organizations like the NCAA need an outside group to force movement.
- However, he does not see a compromise to be had with the states, because that’s not how the laws would work. Instead, the NCAA will come up with a plan soon, and then the entire membership will vote on the next step in 2020.
- Smith admits that “the NCAA taken a long time to modernize.” He said that he wanted to have this discussion a long time ago, but lawsuits held up that conversation.
Offense: Rashod Berry, Wyatt Davis, J.K. Dobbins, Luke Farrell, Justin Fields, K.J. Hill, Jonah Jackson, Austin Mack, Thayer Munford, Josh Myers, Chris Olave, Master Teague, Binjimen Victor, Garrett Wilson
Player of the Game: Joshua Alabi
Defensive Champions: Damon Arnette, Jonathon Cooper, Jashon Cornell, Davon Hamilton, Malik Harrison, Robert Landers, Shaun Wade, Pete Werner, Chase Young
Players of the Game: Jordan Fuller, Jeff Okudah
Special Teams Player of the Game: Blake Haubeil
Previewing Michigan State
- “Got another big challenge ahead of us. One of the best-coached teams in the Big Ten and the country.”
- He said that Mark Dantonio has been one of the best coaches in the country for a couple of decades.
- “Obviously, the history of what they’ve done against Ohio State is something our guys will be aware of.”
- Day said that issues noticed while watching film from opponents’ previous games are often fixed by the time you play them. “That’s what good defenses do.”
- In addressing MSU’s rush defense, Day said, “We’re up against one of the top run defenses in the country the last two decades so we’ll have to bring our ‘A’ game.”
- Day said that it’s important for players to understand history, because it involves the coaches, the people, what can be used for motivation. He said that he thinks that it’s good for the players to know what they’re getting into.
- Day said that when they bring coaches in for interviews, they talk about wanting them to be in Columbus for a long time. Obviously opportunities will happen, but he doesn’t see anyone leaving anytime soon.
- He said, “I just don’t see it with my staff right now. I expect those guys to be here for a while... “We expect at least two years, sometimes more.”
- Day smiled when asked if he told Jeff Hafley he was going to hire him some day. He said he didn’t say that, but that they did talk about coaching together in college. Day admitted that he knew that they would coach together again, but obviously couldn’t have foreseen this situation unfolding.
- The coach talked about why they practice especially hard on Tuesdays. He said that you can’t expect teams to play hard on Saturday if they don’t practice hard during the week.
- The head coach said that style points don’t play a factor in how long he keeps Justin Fields in the game, but it is about getting him experience and not wanting anything crazy to happen where the game all of a sudden gets close.
- Day said that Jeff Okudah had a great offseason and he is clicking with secondary coordinator Jeff Hafley’s system. Being a year older also has helped elevate his play this year.
- He said that while the whole offensive line graded out as champion, making Alabi the Champion of the Game on offense, “was a tribute to his attitude and what he’s done.” He said that they appreciated that he didn’t enter the transfer portal.
- Day admitted that they knew that Alabi would be playing most of last week.
- While Nicholas Petit-Frere didn’t start against Nebraska, Day said, “The more experience he can get in games the better he’ll be in the long run.”
- The coach declined to comment on whether C.J. Saunders or Taron Vincent will be out for the whole season.
- Day said that Kenny Willekes is in on every play that he watches on film. He said that the MSU defensive end clearly has very strong hands and is in on every tackle.
- The coach said that Fields has made good decisions in keeping the ball safe.
- In discussing Master Teague III, Day said that he is a great change-up to Dobbins. He has done a great job taking care of the football and that he’s “running hard. He’s downhill... it might not be pretty, but he’s getting in there.” He also notes that Teague wasn’t able to practice at times in the offseason due to injury, but now that he’s healthy, practicing has helped him improve.
- Day said that he is mostly in line with Gene Smith on the issue of players being compensated for their image and likeness. However, he said that he sees “exciting opportunities for student-athletes.”
- He added, “I’m interested to see where it goes. I do definitely think there’s opportunity out there for these guys, but at the same time it’s not easy.”
- The coach said that anytime a player plays multiple positions, or even multiple sports, they view it as a positive that increases their competitiveness and athleticism.
- Day said that quarterback recruiting is as sensitive as can be in college football, and they are cognizant of that.
- They always want to have four QBs on the roster, and they tell recruits that, whether there is someone else in the same class or not.
- Day said that he doesn’t discuss his votes in the USA Today Coaches Poll.
The No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes will host Michigan State Spartans in Columbus on Saturday, Oct. 5. The game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET and will be aired on ABC.